“How I Met My Husband” Short Story by Alice Munro
Alice Ann Munro is a short story writer from Canada born in 1931 in Ontario, Canada. She attended the University of Western Ontario studying English and journalism before abandoning her studies after two years. Munro won the Man Booker International Prize in 2009, while in 2013, she won the Nobel Prize in Literature (Thacker). Munro met her first husband, James Munro, who had three daughters in 1951 and later married a second husband in 1976. The author’s contributions are transforming the construction of short stories as she tends to employ a strategy where she would move back in forward in time. The review of the work presented by Sutton provides a focal point of analyzing Munro’s work in light of fiction to highlight the theme of love. Brian Sutton Smith, a lifetime student of play, spent most of his time researching, teaching, and observing different educational psychology and sports fields. His review of “How I Met My Husband” provides a comprehensive analysis of how Munro employs fiction to express different themes, irony and setting within the short story.
Literary fiction is prevalent within the entire narration as the writer narrates a story of how a teenage girl who, after dropping from school, is employed at a local farm. The novelist uses different character-focused narratives advanced vocabulary intertwined with imagery, allegory, metaphors, and symbolism in her literary fiction. The writer’s primary aim of literary fiction is to highlight a significant theme within a particular plot. The writer uses imagination to depict love when explaining encounters between Eddie and Chris. According to Sutton, Munro introduces the love story when Chris, through a screen door, observes Edie wearing Mrs. Peebles’ make-up and dress (108). The bond between the two increases after Eddie visits Chris and flatters promises to keep the incident a secret.
During the first interaction between Chris and Edie, the author draws the readers’ attention by explaining Edie’s appearance when she met Chris. She says that the teenage girl was on a light bluish-green satin dress with a lovely weight on her arm. The outfit had a tapered waist fitted with an off-the-shoulder fold hiding the little sleeves. The author further describes the dress could best be worn with a strapless bra since she never had one; Munro says, “I just had to slide my straps down my arms under the material” (134). The constant use of imagery to achieve fiction in the story transcends when the author adds that Eddie further uses Mrs. Peebles rouge, eyebrow pencils, and lipstick. She further states that she even tried pinning up her hair to get the effect.
Throughout the plot where Edie meets Chris, fiction creates a realistic incidence in the author’s real life. The vivid description of the events between Edie and Chris when they first met gives readers actual mental imagery while evoking emotions on the early interaction and relationship between the two. This passage evokes attention amongst the readers to the life of Edie, the main character in the story.
Another instance created fiction to highlight the theme of love in the story is during Edie’s second encounter with Chris at his tent. Sutton points out how secrecy establishes a shared bond between Chris and Edie, leading them to a sexual encounter (Sutton 109). Munro states, “he sat beside me and started those little kisses, so soft all over my eyelids and neck and ears, all over” (142). Munro proceeds to elaborate how Edie and her, as a fifteen-year-old girl, pressed against each other gently during a sexual encounter. The author describes the meeting nonchalantly to establish a quaint tone within the story. Sutton echoes the words of Munro where Edie says, “and he did some other things, not bad things or not in a bad way.” Munro further draws the imagination of the readers when she writes that when things heated up between the two, it was Chris who would stop her (109). In this encounter, Munro uses fiction to propagate the theme of love in the story.
Irony is also prevalent in the short story through the characters Edie, Chris and the mail carrier. When Chris eventually flies away and leaves Edie, he promises Edie that he will write to Edie upon arriving. Edie sits at the mailbox for months, waiting for her lover’s letter so she can join him and start a happy marriage (Tian 25). Irony occurs when Edie fails to receive Chris’s letter and instead marries the mailman. Munro uses irony to draw the readers expectation of possibility of a re-union and marriage between Edie and Chris. Contrary to the readers’ expectation, Edie ends up marrying the mailman who thought Edie went after him by sitting by the mailbox every day.
The theme of love is also vivid through Alice Kelling and Chris Watte. The affection between the two is evident when Alice meets Mrs. Peebles and Lorreta. Sutton (109) states that when Alice arrives, she introduces herself as Mr. Watters’ fiancée while further describing how they first met. Alice Kelling travels to the countryside searching for Chris, with whom she had fallen in love. Personal interests are also apparent when there is a misconception that Edie had sexual intercourse with Chris.
When Edie reveals to Alice Kelling and Mrs. Peebles that she had some intimate occasion with Chris, the news triggers Alice’s anger. Filled with rage as Chris rejects her advances, she claims that there is only one way to prove that she slept with Chris (Cengage Learning Gale 7). The desperation leads Alice to demand a close examination on Edie to observe any sexual interaction with an older man. Only after Mrs. Peebles rejects the action stating a breach of other people’s secrets as unwise, the author draws the reader to love and discord in this episode. The author shows the risks individuals in love are willing to take to put forward her point of view in respect to the theme of love.
The short story by Alice Munro is set under different sociological and historical contexts. The sociological concept refers to the social interaction within the story’s setting, which pertains to family dynamics, the community, work, religious and political structures. The social context within the story includes family settings where the male is the head of the family. Sutton (108) states that after Munro suffered from public disclosure, her father was the sole decision-maker who pulled her out of school sent her to work as a “paid girl” at Mr. and Mrs. Peebles’s home. Other social aspects within the story include cohabitation and social bonds. The depictions of the actions and relationship between Chris and Alice Kelling are an example of social elements within the storyline. At the same time, the love affair between Edie and Chris reveals close social bonds within the story.
Different phenomena reveal the psychological context of the setting of the story. Feelings are vivid throughout the story, as Sutton (107) showed when he described Munro’s experience as a disgrace when she was depicted as poorest when a local newspaper printed averages of all the area high school students. Sutton (109) further shows a psychological context within the story’s setting when he defines Alice Kelling as an unsympathetic figure lacking discretion. The author depicts a physiological situation where most characters behave in specific ways. Munro shows Edie as a motivated character when she waits for Chris’s letter at the mailbox for some months.
Cengage Learning Gale. Study Guide for Alice Munro’s How I Met My Husband. Gale Study Guides, 2017, p. 7.
Munro, Alice. Something I’ve Been Meaning to Tell You Thirteen Stories. Mcgraw-Hill Ryerson Limited, 1974.
Sutton, Brian. “Munro’s How I Met My Husband”. The Explicator, vol. 63, no. 2, 2005, pp. 107-110. Informa UK Limited.
Tian, Yuan. “Life Is Elsewhere a Comparative Study Of “Araby” And “How I Met My Husband””. Francis Academic Press, vol. 2, no. 7, 2020, p. 25. Francis Press. Web.
Tian, Yuan. “Life Is Elsewhere a Comparative Study Of “Araby” And “How I Met My Husband.” Francis Academic Press, vol. 2, no. 7, 2020, p. 25. Francis Press. Web.